Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Challenge: Women Unbound – November 1, 2009 to November 30, 2010


Yet another book challenge! Click on the badge to access the challenge site and join.

Here is some basic information around this challenge taken from the site:

The challenge runs from November 1, 2009-November 30, 2010, but you may join in the fun whenever you wish!   Participants are encouraged to read nonfiction and fiction books related to the rather broad idea of ‘women’s studies.’  The definition according to Merriam-Webster

  • the multidisciplinary study of the social status and societal contributions of women and the relationship between power and gender.

Interested in participating? Great! There are three levels you can choose as a reader (you can count books for other challenges as well):

  • Philogynist: read at least two books, including at least one nonfiction one.
  • Bluestocking: read at least five books, including at least two nonfiction ones.
  • Suffragette: read at least eight books, including at least three nonfiction ones.

WOMEN UNBOUND Start of Challenge Meme:

1. What does feminism mean to you? Does it have to do with the work sphere? The social sphere? How you dress? How you act?

Feminism to me is a human rights issue. It is accessing the innate strength and knowledge that women have to sustain themselves. Which means supporting their/our collective right to live a life of their/our own choosing – meaning access to basic and equal human rights. This also commonly includes any faction or group that often does not have access to basic rights - for example the GLBT community and people of color. Feminism is linked intimately with gender, race, and class issues.

2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?

I believe that all women are essentially feminist, although they may be adverse to the label and may not claim to be. I think that those whom deny it must misunderstand it, are misinformed, and/or ignorant around the issues. They are judging all feminists on a small faction of publicized feminists which are labeled radical and angry. (I do understand and support this anger.)

3. What do you consider the biggest obstacle women face in the world today? Has that obstacle changed over time, or does it basically remain the same?

The current back lash which labels feminists negatively is what I believe to be the biggest challenge. Where would we be with out our mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers fighting for our ability to vote, to be able to own property, the ability to choose whom we marry, to leave abusive partners? The list goes on.

What I think so many women (and men) forget and what I frequently remind myself, is that in the US my great, great grandmother, was not allow to own property. She was considered the property of her father and husband. This was less than 100 years ago. My question is this how did we move into more enlightened times? Strong women who where and are feminists!

I encourage anyone who has negative feelings around feminism to join this challenge and to focus on the historical background and the women who went to jail, died, and endured horrible situations trying to gain the right to vote for women, the ability to own property, the right to an education, and the right to choose her/our own path in life.

Non of this means women/we have to forsake their/our values, our families, our religion (I am not religious), and our femininity.

My commitment to the challenge:

I will be reading from the Bluestocking Level: which is to read at least five books, including at least two nonfiction ones. I have decided upon a “book pool” since I like my “freedom to choose”. Here is a list of books that are already included in other challenges, links to other lists, blogs, and groups where I may access books from:

  1. New Eves - ed Janrae Frank
  2. Herland - Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  3. Grass – Sherri Tepper
  4. Anything by Octavia E. Butler
  5. O Pioneer - Willa Cather
  6. One of Ours - Willa Cather
  7. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  8. The Delta of Venus - Anais Nin
  9. The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
  10. The House of Spirit - Isabella Allende
  11. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
  12. The Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
  13. Their Eyes Where Watching God - Zora Neal Hurston
  14. Women of Wisdom - Tsultrim Allione
  15. Stepmonster - Wednesday Martin PhD
  16. Feminism: the Essential Writings - ed Mirian Schneir
  17. The Feminine Mystique - Betty Friedan

TBA – A book which is counter to feminism for contrast and reflection

Personal Lists from Goodreads:

Other places to find books:

I am looking forward to all the participant’s thoughts and reviews for this challenge!

To link to the challenge site’s participants lists click here. For the links to all the reviews link here.


  1. Stepmonster by Wednesday Martin  - non fiction
  2. A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar  - general fiction
  3. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan - fantasy
  4. Soulless by Gail Carrigan – urban fantasy
  5. Fun Home by Allison Bechdel – non fiction graphic novel

Challenge complete!

I will continue to post related readings below and to the challenge site.


Aarti said...

I'm glad linky is working for you, Shellie, as I think we should all have access to your great responses above :-) I like how you recommend *non*-feminists to take part in the challenge. That's a great idea! I wish more guys would do it, but maybe we're not at that point in equality quite yet...

Unknown said...

Aarti -
Mr. Linky was great. It was the comments I was having problems with. I wanted to be sure to get all the updated lists and meme answers. As well as posts for reviews.

I think that there are a lot of men who support feminism. Most educated and/or evolved men do. They just have their own stuff going on. Like my hubby....
And those that do not support feminism are just ignorant or more.

We are so lucky here in the US. Yet we have work to do. I cannot believe that we have not had a woman president yet and it is 2009 and we finally have our first black president. Really pathetic.

Elizabeth said...

AMEN to everything you said! I,too, understand and support the anger, but fear it sometimes gets in the way of the message. You have a great list - can't wait to see what you think of those books!

Unknown said...

Elizabeth -
Thank you!

I will be by to take a look at your list as well. I have yet to look at all everyone's list and meme questions. But am excited to do so.

Color Online said...


Thanks for addressing the misconceptions and misinformation. So many women and men would benefit from reading your post.

I hope you will visit me at either Black-Eyed Susan's or Color Online.

Very cool list.

Unknown said...

Color Online -

I follow your blog, and have done so for some time.

Thanks for your compliment and comment its greatly appreciated!

Care said...

Wonderful! and I saw that a few of your comments were trapped by the spam catcher at the challenge site - all fixed now. Thanks for participating!

Unknown said...

Care -
I emailed Aarti and she did not know what was going on.
Thanks for hosting this great challenge!

Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

What a great post! I'm looking forward to reading your responses to the books you choose to read and sharing our thoughts!

Unknown said...

Jade -
Thanks so much.
I'm looking forward to checking yours out as well. :)

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Thanks for pointing out this challenge to me!

I am definitely in with this!

BTW, some of my books spotlight the resurgence of feminism in the sixties and seventies, and include "Miles to Go" and "Web of Tyranny."

Unknown said...

Laurel -
Yeah! Welcome to the challenge. I am so glad you decided to join. :)

Well - those are not the book that I chose to review on my site....

I will be by to check on your post soon.

vvb32 reads said...

Glad you're part of this challenge too! I like your pool of books. I might do the same so as not to be locked in. But do, let's read Betty's Feminine Mystique. It will be interesting to see how what she wrote resonates with our current scene.

Unknown said...

vvb -
The book pool is the only way to go. Why box yourself in?

Yes - Lets give The Feminine Mystique a go!

I do have to warn you that I am a "dedicated ditcher".. if I do not get a book.

Thanks for your reciprocal response. :)

Michelle said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog! Your list looks great - I just may have to snag a few of your titles once I finish the ones I'm reading.

I hope you enjoy "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck - I did when I read it (though it was a while ago).

Happy reading!

Unknown said...

Michelle -
Steal away - the bigger the tbr pile the better. In my opinion, as long as you can find stuff.
That's what makes it so much fun.

Come back and visit soon. :)

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. Here's the link to EVERYTHING on my blog about the "Women Unbound" reading challenge.

I see you are also reading The Feminine Mystique, which I added to my list a couple of days after I joined. You'll see it among the posts under the "Women Unbound" label that I've given you (above).

I look forward to whatever you have to say during the year about the books you read and however they relate to your own experiences.

Unknown said...

Bonnie -
Thanks, I did see your list. I think that I commented there as well.
Looking forward to your thoughts about the Betty Friedan book, and all your other choices too.

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